FoCo funeral chapel staying put, for now

FORT COLLINS – The owner of a 62-year-old, family-owned funeral home in Old Town Fort Collins says the mortuary is likely to remain in its location for another year, despite a developer’s announced plans to build an apartment building on the site.

Denver-based Confluent Development in May had submitted preliminary plans to the city for a six-story, 200-unit apartment building at 121 W. Olive St. and 120 W. Magnolia St., property owned by Bohlender Funeral Chapel. But mortuary owner Gary Bohlender told BizWest this week that as the process creeps along, “I would imagine we’ll be there for the next year” before having to move.

A spokesperson for Confluent would confirm only that the developer “has submitted a concept plan for this parcel.”

The preliminary plan includes a land swap with CenturyLink, which owns property adjacent to the funeral home. That transaction would give Confluent a rectangular tract on which to build and offer parking and retail spaces on the southwest corner of Olive and Mason streets.

The Bohlender family, having decided that mounting parking problems and other issues in Old Town meant it could better serve its customers somewhere else, put its tract up for sale in early 2021 for $3.75 million.

An unspecified new site for the relocated funeral chapel is “under contract,” Bohlender said, “but we still have to go in front of the city for a construction review and the first steps in September. Everybody that’s there will basically let us know if we should keep moving forward.”

When the funeral home’s move finally happens, Bohlender admitted it will be jarring.

Noting that his father Milo had started the business in 1960, Gary Bohlender said that “it’s still not lost on me that it’s a big transition, not only physically but emotionally for my family.”

The Bohlenders were the fourth family to own the funeral chapel since it first opened in the 1930s, he said, adding that his daughter Scout, 22, “works with us full time” and is the likely successor as owner of the business — wherever it’s located.

“If our family didn’t see value in it,” said Gary Bohlender, “we wouldn’t keep doing it.”

Source: BizWest

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